Most people who’ve ever forgiven someone know that forgiveness is a process. It’s hardly ever instant. My dad and I had a tough relationship during my teens and early 20s. Soon after my wedding, my dad announced that he was divorcing my step-mother (the source of our trouble) and he wanted to come see me. Matthew and I were living in Atlanta and going to seminary. My dad was coming in for a business meeting, but had a few hours to meet me. It was a nice spring day and he suggested we go for a walk as we talked.
I had a lot of anger and resentment built up toward my step-mother, which spilled over to my dad. He had let me down numerous times, so I was wasn’t expecting much from this talk. I knew he was frustrated and disappointed by my actions and attitudes on the matter, so I was also feeling the need to apologize.
As we walked and talked, we shared from our hearts. We both expressed regret and both received the other’s apology. I wouldn’t say I forgave my dad that day, but I certainly started the process. Our relationship has gotten better since that spring day.
During the Lenten season, we are going to focus on forgiveness. The Sunday School class is using a book called ___ and Pastor Melissa and John Somerset will lead the discussion. In worship, we will use the Beatitudes from Matthew 5 to explore forgiveness.
As part of your Lenten discipline, think about who you need to forgive (maybe an individual, a group or yourself) or who you need to ask for forgiveness. I hope our walk through forgiveness will be transforming for all.